Combet tells Greens "tough luck'' on coal's future

“TOUGH luck” is how Federal Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet referred to the Australian Greens' belief that stronger action must take place in order to reduce Australia's carbon emissions.

Minister Combet told the Morning Bulletin this week that the Greens would simply have to put up with the minority government's decision to give the nation's biggest polluters $9.2 billion to adjust to the carbon price.

“Basically, you have to live in the real world, and the real world demands that if we are taxing the biggest polluters, as part of the package, we should also be giving them incentives to change,” he said.

“We will create this market, which will drive industry to make the needed investment to change, rather than try and force them into it by regulation.

“And, certainly, not every Green or Independent member will be happy with every part of this package, but we have decided how we are going to go about it, and we will stay the course.”

Long-time Greens Senator Christine Milne said that while she was not happy with every part of the package, the Greens party was largely pleased that the package would provide the incentives to help the renewable energy sector find its feet.

One technology which could be funded under the package was carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which was researched and much-touted by the Australia coal industry.

However, the technology, which formed the basis of Central Queensland's ZeroGen project fall-over in late 2010 due to lack of investment, has largely been discredited.

“Clearly the CCS technology is simply a pipe dream, and the lack of investment is clear from Treasury modelling and the coal industry's own lack of investment in the technology,” Senator Milne said.

“I see this package, despite the investment in helping the coal industry continue, as a vital package for changing the amount of carbon emissions Australia produces.”

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